FBI Got Useful Information Off San Bernardino iPhone

April 20, 2016, 3:19 PM UTC

It turns out the FBI’s crack of Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c might have yielded some results.

Less than a week after reports surfaced, saying the FBI’s look inside the San Bernardino attacker’s iPhone 5c had so far yielded no results, CNN is reporting, citing U.S. law enforcement officials, that it’s now found something. Those officials say that the iPhone investigators are now able to determine that Farook likely did not make contact with another “plotter” during the 18-minute period in which he drove around after the tragic shooting.

The FBI spent approximately two months trying to crack into Farook’s iPhone 5c, but failed. In February, the U.S. Justice Department sued for Apple’s (AAPL) help in unlocking the device. A magistrate judge sided with the Justice Department and ruled that Apple would be required to create software that would help the FBI’s efforts. Apple countered, saying it would not help the agency for fear of violating personal privacy. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that helping the FBI unlock Farook’s iPhone could set a “dangerous precedent” and violate all of its users’ digital privacy.

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Soon after, debate raged over which side was right. The FBI argued that it was simply trying to bring justice to the victims and would not violate privacy. Several lawmakers soon chimed in, calling on Apple to work with the FBI to unlock the iPhone in the wake of a terrorist attack. Apple, along with several other technology companies that stood with it, remained steadfast in its belief that privacy is critical, and didn’t bend.

In March, however, the FBI announced that it had worked with an unidentified third party that could unlock the iPhone 5c. It was subsequently revealed by FBI Director James Comey that the FBI paid for the tool and other reports suggested hackers siding with the FBI helped with the crack.

The case with Apple was dropped and since then, the FBI has been working on digging through Farook’s data.

Last week, CBS News reported, citing its own sources, that the FBI had yet to find anything of “significance” in Farook’s iPhone. The agency’s officials added, however, that they would continue to dig to find something. If CNN’s sources are correct, they finally hit pay dirt.

However, it’s unclear just how important that data really is. According to CNN‘s sources, the iPhone shows no evidence of Farook communicating with known ISIS members or supporters. They added that simply being able to see what Farook did with his iPhone was valuable, since without it, they had to guess at his activities and contacts, according to CNN.

Looking ahead, the FBI is far from done. The agency’s sources told CNN that it will continue to dig through Farook’s iPhone to see if it can find anything else.

Neither Apple nor the FBI immediately responded to a request for comment.

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